Saturday, 20 August 2016

Michael Schumacher - Formula One Debut

Michael Schumacher
Thursday 25th August was the the 25th anniversary of Michael Schumacher’s debut in Formula One.

The seven time World Champion, now regarded as one of the greatest drivers of all time, made his bow as a 22-year-old unknown at the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa

After learning the ropes, initially in karting events where he gained his licence in Luxembourg at the age of 12 (the minimum age in his native Germany was 14), he went on to race in German Formula Ford, Formula K├Ânig and Formula Three, progressing into the World Sportscar championship.


Bertrand Gachot
He made his debut in Formula One for the Jordan-Ford team, replacing the imprisoned at the time Bertrand Gachot, who was serving a 2 month sentence after spraying a London taxi cab driver with CS gas in a traffic altercation.

The Race

At the time Schumacher was a contracted Mercedes driver, but after impressing the powers that be at a Silverstone test drive the week before the race, he was given the drive and promptly went on to learn the intricacies of the Spa track by cycling around it on a fold-up bike he had brought with him.

Testing the Jordan 191 car
He qualified in 7th place on the grid, but sadly when the race came he retired on the first lap when his clutch failed. The late Ayrton Senna went on to win the race, with his McLaren-Honda team mate, Austrian Gerhard Berger following up just behind.

Skiing Accident

In December 2013 Schumacher was skiing with his son in the French Alps when he fell and hit his head on a rock. He was airlifted to hospital and placed in a medically induced coma.


In November 2014, it was reported that he was paralysed and in a wheelchair; was unable to speak and had memory problems. 

In a later interview with his manager, she stated that he was slowly improving “considering the severity of the injury he had sustained”.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

"Moon the Loon" at 70!

Tuesday 23rd August 2016 would have been the 70th birthday of Keith Moon, former drummer of British rock band The Who.


Affectionately known as “Moon the Loon”,  he was renown for his madcap antics and eccentric behaviour, which included driving a Lincoln Continental into a Holiday Inn swimming pool on his 20th birthday (this has often been wrongly reported as being his 21st birthday, being probably due to the legal age of drinking in the US being 21).

As a drummer he had few peers. Voted the 2nd greatest drummer in history by a Rolling Stone poll, he played the skins similarly to his lifestyle, with a sense of wild abandon that blew the minds of fans and admirers alike.

But he is mainly remembered for his life of excessive drinking and partying which eventually took it’s toll. He regularly smashed his drum kit on stage, and became infamous for trashing hotel rooms along with the obligatory throwing the TV out of the window. He was also fascinated with blowing up toilets with explosives (cherry bombs). Is it any wonder that many hotel chains refused to accept him on their guest list.

 Keith Moon drum solo

Moon died on 7th September 1978 at the age of 32 from an overdose of the prescription drug Heminevrin. 

Used to combat alcoholism or withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, he was given 100 tablets to use “as he pleased” but to take no more than 3 a day. 

32 were found in his system with just 6 digested (certainly enough to kill an adult).

He died at a flat in London’s Mayfair, rented to him by musician and singer Harry Nilsson. 

Spookily that same flat was also the location for “Mama” Cass Elliot’s death 4 years previously and Nilsson was concerned about letting it to Moon, considering it to be cursed. 

Fellow Who member Pete Townsend wrongly assured him that “lightning would not strike in the same place twice”. Sadly it did.